MINOT, N.D. — I live in the shadow of a great man.
My father is a war hero, having been awarded the Silver Star and four Bronze Stars for his service in Vietnam.
He was a legendary cop in the state of Alaska, investigating everything from murder and organized crime to political corruption. His work in taking down infamous serial killer Robert Hansen was portrayed by Nicholas Cage in the movie “On Frozen Ground.”
When my family moved to North Dakota, my father, then retired from law enforcement, started a business as a private investigator that earned him no small degree of notoriety. I may publish daily columns for the largest news media organization in North Dakota, but when people recognize me they routinely ask, “Aren’t you Rollie Port’s kid?”
I am, and proud of it.
Just a few years ago my father, retired at the time, saved a police officer’s life after coming across a traffic stop that turned violent along Highway 83 south of Minot.
He just can’t help but be the hero.
I idolize my dad, so when he called me from a hotel room in Fargo saying he was having trouble breathing and asking if he should go to the hospital, I was as terrified as I was frustrated that he thought he needed to ask.
Get thee to a physician, I told him.